How the 4Ps of Marketing Have Morphed in the Era of Social Business and Technology Driven Marketing

The 20th century marketplace was largely dominated by the 4Ps of Marketing. Evolved initially by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960 and expanded on by Philip Kotler and several others subsequently, the 4Ps of Marketing - Product, Place, Price, Promotion - became one of the foundation stones of Marketing as practiced by corporations and taught in business schools the world over.

A five year study, published in the HBR, found that while the 4Ps had served marketers well for half a century, they were proving to be inadequate in the 21st century marketplace, leading to narrow, product-focused strategies. The new marketing mix, particularly for B2Bs, could be shortened to S.A.V.E. which is explained below.

1. Focus on Solution instead of Product: Customers don't care too much about the product, all they care about is solving their problems. Hence there is a need to move away from product focus to a solution and service focus.

2. Focus on Access instead of Place: Many businesses operate around always-on, high speed internet access, hence place needs to be replaced by access. The accent needs to be on what one can provide the customer just when he or she needs it.

3. Focus on Value instead of Price: Customers do have concern about price but only after their concern about value have been answered. Value proposition thus becomes the key while devising a business model.

4. Focus on Education instead of Promotion: Businesses today need to provide their current and potential customers with information which is relevant to their interests and need to win their trust before transacting business with them.

Several other definitions of the new marketing mix, generally approximating the S.A.V.E mix have been enunciated as well. Two of them are briefly mentioned below.

The 4Es of Marketing was initially articulated by a senior manager of O & M. This is how he visualized the transition from the traditional 4Ps.
  • Product =====> Experience
  • Place ====> Everyplace
  • Price ====> Exchange
  • Promotion ====> Evangelism 
Recently, a VP at Johnson & Johnson articulated a new set of 4Ps. A brief insight into these can be gleaned below.

1. Purpose: In the information age, consumers are looking for brands that have relevance and add value to their lives and hence, these attributes need to be in alignment, before any transaction can take place.

2. Presence: Today's consumers divide their attention across many screens and spend their time in many different channels and hence brands need to have a multiplicity of presence to be able to garner attention. 

3. Partnerships: Since, in today's world, no brand is big enough to go it alone, brands need to develop their partnership ecosystems. Partnerships facilitate competing brands as well as brands and their customers to discover new ways of working together, leading to win-win strategies. 

4. Proximity: The spread of social media for business can enable a brand to be in constant engagement with its customers and prospects as well. Predictive and Big Data analytics can give brands completely new insights into their customers' orientations, preferences and behavioural patterns among other aspects. Brands which fail to utilize a host of such readily available and virtually indispensable tools may soon find themselves struggling for relevance & survival. 

It would be evident from the 21st century marketing mixes outlined above that marketing is fast becoming one of the most content and information driven disciplines today. A couple of years ago, Gartner had predicted that by 2017, a company's Chief Marketing Officer ( CMO ) would be spending more on IT than the company's Chief Information Officer ( CIO ). This has created a pressing need for a new type of executive, the Chief Marketing Technologist ( CMT ) who would be key to driving this transformation. The CMT can best be described as part technology leader, part creative director, part strategist and part teacher. 

Irrespective of what they may be called in different organizations, the best CMTs trigger greater experimentation and agile-management of that function's capabilities. The forces that gave rise to this new role are briefly articulated below.
1. In a digital world, software is the principal platform for engaging prospects and customers. 
2. Digital marketing and e-commerce are increasingly augmenting or, in cases, even replacing traditional touchpoints. Many CEOs say that digital marketing is the singlemost important technology-driven investment that their organizations can make. 
3. The rise in digital marketing spending is not merely a migration from traditional to digital media. Increasingly, a growing portion of marketing's budget is now allocated to technology itself. 
4. The challenge of effectively managing all this technology is a tough task. At last count, there are well over a 1000 marketing software providers globally, offering everything from solutions for social media management, content management and marketing, major platforms for CRM, marketing automation and customer-centric apps. Relationships with external agencies and service providers must now include technical interfaces for the exchange and integration of code and data. 
There is thus a pressing need for the CMO and CIO to collaborate closely and, in 21st century organizations, the Chief Marketing Technologist ( CMT ) effectively straddles that divide.